Kerala says no to GM crops

Published: Thursday 15 May 2008

addressing a two-day seminar on gm Crops and Biodiversity, Kerala Chief Minister V S Achutanandan said that the state would not have a policy that would have any adverse impact on farmers and that included allowing gm crops.

The seminar concluded with the resolution that "the release of gm crops in the environment and gm food in the market should be banned to protect the health, agriculture and biodiversity of the nation".

The state came up with a Kerala Declaration, which included some of the impacts of gm crops such as genetic contamination of seed varieties, irreversible harm to human and animal health and complete dominance by multinational companies.

The declaration noted that introduction of gm crops would make farming uneconomical and ecologically unviable. It also highlighted issues such as gm crops and biodiversity, food security, health hazards, biosafety regulations and issues related to intellectual property rights.

Farmer organizations and civil society groups called for an urgent need to have a precautionary approach towards gm crops at the national level. The delegates brought to light large-scale ecological farming experiences being practised in states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. They stressed that with natural alternatives available there was no need for gm crops.

The seminar was attended by over 150 delegates comprising members of different state biodiversity boards, farmers and farmer organizations, agricultural scientists, economists, students, representatives of the industry and civil society groups.

The state's agriculture minister Mullakara Ratnakaran also endorsed the view that the government could not restrict the choice of farmers by introducing gm crops or allowing gm field trials.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.